Q

Counterpoint: Will 10 Gbps iSCSI trump Fibre Channel?

Let's say iSCSI is deployable at 10 Gbps by the second half of 2005. The current wisdom says iSCSI is for the low-end, cost-driven market. How would this change? Do you see a possibility of iSCSI becoming a favored choice at all levels, if 10 Gb were available on this timeline?
Right now, iSCSI is seeing quick acceptance at the low end (especially with Windows and Linux). iSCSI at 10 Gb looks like a slam dunk over Fibre Channel at 2 or 4 Gb, but this might not be the case. iSCSI requires quite a bit more CPU time than FC. This isn't a problem at 1 Gb with 2 GHz CPUs, but might start looking serious at 10 Gb. Without a similar bump in CPU power, performance will suffer. It gets really serious when IPsec encryption is used. One solution to this problem is the hardware-accelerated iSCSI HBAs (sometimes called TOE NICs) that are coming along now. So I'd wager that 10 Gb iSCSI will be quite competative with FC, but only with hardware HBAs. And this might reduce the "low cost" angle substantially!

Read Brett Cooper's answer to this question.

This was first published in December 2004

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